Chiwetel is one of the few popular Nigerian celebrities making waves in the diaspora. Born in London’s Forest Gate to Nigerian parents of Igbo descent, his childhood was slightly traumatic as an incident in 1988 led to the death of his father and left a visible scar on his forehead.
Identifying his passion for the art, Ejiofor began acting in school plays at his junior high school. His gift and passion led him to the London Academy of Music and Drama Art after which he got cast in his first professional movie, Steven Spielberg’s Amistad at age 19.
Since then, he has portrayed the characters Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), Lola in Kinky Boots (2005), The Operative in Serenity (2005), and Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013).
He also played Vincent Kapoor in The Martian (2015), Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange (2016), Dr Watson in Sherlock Gnomes (2018) and Trywell Kamkwamba in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019).
He voiced Scar in the 2019 remake of The Lion King and will be featured in the upcoming fantasy film, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
In 2008, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts. He was elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 Birthday Honours.